the Little Red Reviewer

LOTR: Return of the King, part 1

Posted on: November 12, 2011

Happy Saturday everyone!  do you have snow?  How about annoying Christmas ads on tv?

Let’s get to some fun stuff, shall we?  This week we’re talking about the first section of The Return of The King.  This is the book where it all happens, where everything ends, where all the cards are on the table and the time for bluffing has come to an end. In this first section, we jump back and forth between Merry and Gandalf who are in Minas Tirith,  Pippin who is in Rohan, and Aragorn who is on the way to the land of the Dead. Sounds a little dramatic, no?  Well, yes, and verily.  ;)

This weeks questions were provided by Clint over at Geeky Daddy, and they are some good ones!  As always, leave your link in the comments or tweet it to me at @redhead5318 with #LOTRreadalong .

1.With the company that went with Aragorn through the Paths of Death. Would you have volunteered knowing it may be curse and ghosts haunting the paths?

2.What were your thoughts of Merry and Pippin in the preparation to the Battle of Gondor. It seemed that each ruler just thought that each hobbit could not be a contribution to the battle.

3.Did you think that the preparations to the Battle sparked your interest and all or did you find that the flow was bogged down a bit?

4. I thought that it was great that both Eowyn and Merry made it to the Battlefield. Yet against orders of the King and made a huge contributions. What did you think both of them doing this and would you have done this if it was you?

5. What do you think of Denethor’s rash decision to send Faramir to hold Western Osgiliath against the hosts of the Enemy that outnumbered their own greatly?

Check out these other discussions!
Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
Geeky Daddy
Lynn’s Book Blog
Polishing Mud Balls
Book Den
Stainless Steel Droppings

1.With the company that went with Aragorn through the Paths of Death. Would you have volunteered knowing it may be curse and ghosts haunting the paths?

I figure Aragorn isn’t going on a suicide mission, so I don’t know that I’d have raised my hand and said “I’ll lead the way!”, but I’d go with him. I trust that he knows what he’s doing.  Compared to the other horrible creepy things we’ve run into  *cough*Shelob*cough*, I’ll be happy to spend the evening with ghosts any day. Those scenes were suspensful, but not so scary.  And dude, it’s Aragorn!

2.What were your thoughts of Merry and Pippin in the preparation to the Battle of Gondor. It seemed that each ruler just thought that each hobbit could not be a contribution to the battle.

I was surprised that the two Hobbits took oaths of loyalty to rulers they hardly knew. These are the two guys who can not wait to get back to the Shire, yet here they are, vowing loyalty to someone far away?  I think Theoden and Denethor were more amused by it than anything, perhaps thinking they’d gained a squire or a page or something, or figuring the Hobbits would ditch at the first opportunity. and Merry wandering through Minas Tirith whining about the food is hilarious!  But as you’ll read below, if Merry and Pippin weren’t where they were, and hadn’t taken those oaths of loyalty, really bad things would have happened.

3.Did you think that the preparations to the Battle sparked your interest and all or did you find that the flow was bogged down a bit?

I gotta be honest, it bogged things down a little. No matter what I do, Tolkien’s writing style just doesn’t do it for me, and the battle prep just wasn’t all that interesting. :(

4. I thought that it was great that both Eowyn and Merry made it to the Battlefield. Yet against orders of the King and made a huge contributions. What did you think both of them doing this and would you have done this if it was you?

Hell yeah they made big contributions!  From seeing the movie, I knew this scene was coming, but wasn’t sure how it actually played out in the book. Eowyn is awesome! I don’t think she’s got much interest in being a war hero, but she’s not interested in being left behind, and I also think she doesn’t quite realize what she’s gotten herself into until that last possible moment.  Would I have done it if I was them?   battlefield? swords? possible bloody painful death? eh. .  . . it’s just not me.  I’d totally play the girl card and be like Sure Dad, I’ll totally hang with the women and children, get some Orc stew going for when you get home.  And then I’d have found out that the entire battle went crappy cuz I wasn’t there to kill some Nazgul. . .  and I’d feel guilty forever.  sigh.

You keep noticing that Tolkien saves the most important things for the smallest of characters?  Pretty cool!

5. What do you think of Denethor’s rash decision to send Faramir to hold Western Osgiliath against the hosts of the Enemy that outnumbered their own greatly?

Denethor is a dick. Seriously.  And yes, I know you find out later why he’s not exactly himself, but still.  Nearly every scene between him and Faramir I was like “why is Denethor being such an asshole?!”  Yes, he is mourning Borimir, I get that, but why is he so mean to Faramir? There’s this super quick little scene between Denethor and Gandalf where I get the impression Denethor was hoping Borimir would come home and hand over the ring. Did his father send him on the mission to Elrond’s Council just to get the ring???  Seems like nearly everyone of the race of Men is power hungry and thinks because they are special they can control the ring, and only use it in times of need. Ha!  So Denethor is not only Borimir-less, but he’s ring-less (and possibly soon to be Minas Tirith-less), and all he’s got left is a smart son who isn’t stupid enough to attempt to gain control of the ring. Dude totally needs an intervention.

So what’s he do? He sends his son on a suicide mission. And what does Faramir do? He goes.  Maybe this is the only way to gain his father’s love, death or no.

And good thing Merry was hanging around all that time and afterwards, or it would have ended even worse than we expected for Faramir.  I guess it is too bad, in the end, for Denethor, as he wasn’t exactly himself at the end. :(

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11 Responses to "LOTR: Return of the King, part 1"

Hooray for the last book!

“Tolkien saves the most important things for the smallest of characters”
This, absolutely, is why I love following Merry and Pippin through the battle scenes. Neither of them need protecting or guidance anymore (sometimes help, but that’s different), they have learned and grown so much on their journey, and even though they’re often disregarded by big people, each makes a vital contribution (which it turns out are kind of thematically connected, but I digress because I’m looking forward to the next part.)

My post: http://bluefairysbookshelf.blogspot.com/2011/11/lotr-read-along-return-of-king-part-one.html

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Ha, love your comments about Denethor and totally agree – he is such a tool I could have throttled him for sending Faramir on that suicide mission!
Also, definitely with you tagging along with Aragorn! Come on, who wouldn’t??
My post: http://lynnsbooks.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/lord-of-the-rings-read-along-return-of-the-king/

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omg, I love that you called him a tool! lmao!

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I was surprised by the vows Merry and Pippin took. I do not fully understand why they did that.

I would like to think that I could be a warrior chick but the reality is that i would play the girl card too… stay at home. Unless, of course, if I could play some role on the field tending the wounded instead of actually going into the thick of battle.

Denethor is a dick – totally agree with you.

My Post: http://ibeeeg.blogspot.com/2011/11/lotr-return-of-king-read-alongweek-one.html

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Pippin was in Minas Tirith, and Merry was in Rohan. :)

I loved – absolutely LOVED the fact that Pippin got to be a Tower Guard. His interaction with Beregond and his son Bergil was wonderful! And Merry! He got out into the battle with Eowyn and helped to slay the Lord of the Nazgul! Took and Brandybuck only wanted to be a part of what was going on – they wanted to HELP, instead of just standing on their toes peeping over the ramparts as a useless observer.

I didn’t think the battle preparations bogged down the book at all.

Denethor was obsessed with the Palantir. He wasn’t himself – especially after the news of Boromir’s death. Both Boromir and Faramir tried to be dutiful sons and each suffered because of Denethor’s madness. Thankfully Pippin saw and understood – and was able to save Faramir from the pyre.

Heck yeah, I’d follow and support Aragorn! :)

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I thought the same thing about Denethor sending Boromir to get the ring. It really gives more insight into Boromir’s behaviour. And, yes, haha… I’d want to stay tagging along with Aragorn.

http://bookden.blogspot.com/2011/11/read-along-lord-of-rings-return-of-king.html

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I agree with the Theoden and Denethor thinking that they may have acquired a page or a squire with them giving their (hobbits) loyalty to each ruler.

I sure do like that Tolkien saves the most important things for the smallest of characters. I really like that about Tolkien giving some of the more climatic parts to the the journey. Plus with an added bonus with Eowyn and Merry going off to battle going against the King’s wishes.

AS for the snow the snow where in WI is all going. It sure does help that it was 45-55 degrees outside:).

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Good old Lord of the Rings…takes me back. And I’d certainly agree on the Denethor by the by…what a nutter he was. Common sense was certainly not big in that particular ruler’s list of priorities.

…but as an aside, I must certainly ask: where oh where did you get that lovely picture with which you opened this post? Gorgeous bit of art, that!

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google image searched for “Eowyn”, I think the image was originally from Deviant Art? yes, very beautiful, I’d buy it as a full sized poster in a heart beat!

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I finally got caught up with this first part of the questions:

http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/the-return-of-the-king-group-read-part-1

I too would have followed Aragorn, but given the fact that no others who had taken that path before ever came back alive would have made it a bit of an act of faith. I really feel for the men of Rohan when this happens, as they have to be sitting there thinking Aragorn is abandoning them for some ill-fated mission that they don’t understand at all. Tolkien didn’t have his characters take the time to explain, they had to act and act now and I find those last interactions with Aragorn and Theoden and Eowyn interesting just before the go down the path.

I’m one who just eats up every word of Tolkien. His writing style is wonderful for me and I don’t feel like it bogs down at all. I’ve actually become even more fond of it this time around and I was pretty sold on it the first time I read these books. I think those slower moments are what reveals more to us about the characters and about their world and this is what interests me about Middle-earth, the way Tolkien weaves such tradition and history into it. It isn’t all rushing to the next battle.

Denethor is a hard character to have any empathy for, even when you understand him. And that is another thing I like about Tolkien. He works hard on having us see all sides of the various players but in the end he doesn’t try to make every character one we can understand and empathize with.

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